Last night, the house passed the AMERICA (American Manufacturing and Retraining Investment Collaboration Act) Works Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Frank Kratovil and fellow freshman legislators Reps. Walt Minnick (ID), Debbie Halvorson (IL) and Bobby Bright (AL).
The America Works Act will help to develop and strengthen the technical workforce needed to attract advanced manufacturing enterprises to the United States in order to create good, middle-class jobs in smaller regional economies like Maryland's First Congressional District.
"We need to make sure that our workforce is trained for the jobs of the 21st century in order to create jobs and remain competitive in new and emerging fields," said Rep. Kratovil. "Individuals need the proper training and tools to succeed in a competitive workforce, and this bill provides that. The AMERICA Works Act will help our long-term economic recovery."
The legislation would direct the use of public funds for designated programs to prepare participants with the foundations kills necessary to obtain jobs and begin careers in the 21st Century economy. The public investment will focus on the developing skills and industry recognized credentials for workers who need to improve or obtain employment, lost their job and need to return to the work force, recently separated from the military, moving off of unemployment or public assistance, as well as young people in search of their first job.
The legislation is strongly supported by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the nation's largest industrial trade association representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.
"In tough economic times with high unemployment, it is difficult to focus on workforce skills development. In reality, we have no better time. True economic reform means not only righting our economic ship but also pursuing the strategies that will ensure we maintain our manufacturing competitiveness and provide the best possible pathways to employment in high quality, middle class jobs for all workers. We commend Congressman Kratovil and his colleagues for introducing this bill which will help ensure both new and transitioning workers have the education and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century manufacturing economy," said Emily Stover DeRocco, President of the Manufacturing Institute and Senior Vice President of the National Association of Manufacturers.